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Comparison of the cross-shelf phytoplankton distribution of two oceanographically distinct regions off Australia
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Marine Systems, ISSN 0924-7963, Vol. 148, 26-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The coastline of Australia spans tropical to temperate latitudes and encompasses a highly diverse phytoplankton community. Yet little is known about environmental driving forces of compositional and distributional patterns in natural phytoplankton communities of Australia. We investigate the relationships of phytoplankton (pico-, nano-, microphytoplankton, determined by microscopy and CHEMTAX) with a variety of environmental variables along cross-shelf gradients. Case studies were conducted in two highly distinct oceanographic regions of Australia (2010/2012): the tropical-temperate Coffs Harbour region (similar to 30 degrees S, 153 degrees E), where the shelf is narrow (similar to 30 km), and the tropical Kimberley region (similar to 16 degrees S, 122 degrees E), where the shelf is-wide (similar to 200 km). We distinguished three water masses in both study regions: relatively cold, nutrient-rich inshore waters; oligotrophic, stratified offshore waters; and cold, nutrient-rich deep waters. Most phytoplankton taxa (cyanobacteria, cryptophytes, dinoflagellates, haptophytes and prasinophytes) showed group-specific relationships with similar environmental variables in both regions. Diatoms occurred in nutrient-rich inshore waters in the Kimberley, whereas they were widely spread across the narrow continental shelf at Coffs Harbour. Off Coffs Harbour, a senescent bloom of the diatom Leptocylindrus danicus probably caused shelf-scale surface nutrient depletion. While microphytoplankton clearly increased, pico- and nanophytoplankton decreased with distance from the coast over the wide shelf in the Kimberley region. In contrast, the abundance of individual phytoplankton size-classes remained relatively constant across the narrow Coffs Harbour shelf. We conclude that general similarities exist between the relationship of phytoplankton and cross-shelf environmental variables in the two sites and assign differences primarily to the varying spatial resolution of our case studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 148, 26-38 p.
National Category
Ecology Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-253360DOI: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2015.02.002ISI: 000356546400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-253360DiVA: diva2:814309
Available from: 2015-05-26 Created: 2015-05-26 Last updated: 2015-07-15Bibliographically approved

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Henderiks, Jorijntje
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